My seed starting is in full swing. I have peppers that need to be transplanted, begonias that are growing well, tomatoes that have just germinated, etc. This year I’m also trying something new for starting the seeds of annual flowers that are a little tricky to transplant.
The prime example of a “tricky transplant” is the zinnia. This flower is easy to grow but it doesn’t like to be transplanted. It’s often recommended that zinnia seeds be sown directly into the soil. This works if you’re growing a row of zinnias but when you want a few plants in specific spots in the middle of a flower bed, it’s difficult to do. In the past I’ve started the seeds in peat pots or in Jiffy pellets about 4 weeks before planting them in the garden. While this has worked, I always noticed some transplanting shock. The plants stopped growing for a while – sometimes for a number of weeks – until they recovered from being transplanted.
This year I think I might be able to limit zinnia transplanting shock. Harris Seeds offers a product called Jiffy Super pellets. The super pellets are Jiffy 7’s on steroids. While a standard Jiffy pellet is about 1.5″ high and wide, the super pellets expand to 4″ high and 2″ wide. They’re huge!
The benefit of this large size is that the roots have a lot more room to grow. While there’s always some root disturbance when you transplant something, these should greatly reduce it. I’m trying the super pellets with marigolds, california poppies and zinnias. Time will tell if they provide a super way to transplant annuals with minimal shock, but I’m hopeful.